Raf Simons’ 9 Most Memorable Fashion Shows

LONDON – It’s the end for Raf Simonseponymous brand after 27 years, the designer revealed on Instagram on Monday.

His spring 2023 show staged during Frieze London in October will be the designer’s last collection for his own label.

No more WWD

Simons launched his eponymous label in 1995, working there while simultaneously holding positions at Jil Sander, Dior, Calvin Klein and Prada, where he has currently served as Co-Creative Director since February 2020.

The designer has been obsessed with youth, Americana and music throughout his nearly three-decade career in fashion.

Fall 1995-96

Simons debuted in 1995 with a film presentation at the Daniele Ghiselli showroom in Milan. He learned to cut and sew thanks to Linda Loppa, head of the fashion division of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

His first collection was all about monochromatic uniforms, a motif that has carried over into Simons’ designs over the past two decades. boxy blazers with long lapels; high-neck sweater vests in a combination of knitwear and leather; elegant shirts paired with striped ties.

Spring 1998 — Black Palms

Simons collaborated with artist Franky Claeys to print stars and palm trees on the naked bodies of models walking through the show, which he spotted via radio advertisements.

Her roster included skaters, ravers and free thinkers – with more than 60 looks in the show.

Shirtless models walked through a large garage in Paris’ Bastille district wearing keffiyehs [a traditional checked headdress worn by those in the Arabian Peninsula] around their naked bodies, with black pants; vests with the keffiyeh print and the cover of the Sex Pistols’ “Never Mind The Bollocks” album; and little skinny black vests.

Spring 1999 — Kinetic Youth

The show opened with “Life on Mars?” by David Bowie. playing as more than a dozen black and white looks hit the runway. It was Simons’ way of bringing tailored, linear clothing to teenagers. It included sleeveless white shirts; white crew neck sweaters; soft and silky black jackets; teal sleeveless t-shirts and long jackets; and red pleated pants and gray v-neck sweaters.

Spring 2002 — Woe to those who spit on the generation of fear… The wind will push it back

The Belgian designer called on graphic designer Peter De Potter for his collection in response to the aftermath of 9/11. Models stepped out on the runway barefoot with torches in hand wearing loose white balaclavas; the words “Hope”, “Resistance”, “Visibility”, “Vigilance”, among others, could be read on the clothes; belted utility suits; and oversized sweaters with puffy cuffs.

Fall 2003 — Closer

Simons teamed up with English graphic designer Peter Saville, best known for his album covers for the bands Joy Division and New Order. Four anoraks in the collection featured printed versions of New Order’s “Technique” and “Power, Corruption & Lies”; “Dazzle Ships” from Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark; and Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures”.

It’s a collection famous for Simons’ take on British sensibility: red, yellow and blue schoolboy knit jumpers; loose suit for a musician; leather bomber jackets with sleek pants that blur the casual-formal dress code; and a subtle Union Jack sewn on the back of a black leather and sheepskin jacket.

Fall 2014

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Simons has long been obsessed with youth, Americana and artist Ruby Sterling – all of whom feature in this collection that began with Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon.” The snaps were present – a round image of Earth as seen from outer space; black canvases splattered with white paint to look like stars; and more splattered stitching in purple, blue and orange.

Fall 2016

Behind the Scenes of Raf Simons' Fall 2016 Men's RTW

Behind the Scenes of Raf Simons Men’s RTW Fall 2016

The Simons collegiate collection has taken clothing to new scales: XXL. Sweaters and cardigans hid models’ hands with unfinished edges; coats can be put on and taken off; and down jackets took up all the space.

Spring 2019

Simons referenced French designer Yves Saint Laurent’s jewel-toned color combinations of emerald green, sapphire yellow and pink howlite in a collection that included duchess satin coats and satin t-shirts with his signature soft knits and oversized polo collars worn over or over.

Spring 2023

Raf Simons RTW Spring 2023

Raf Simons RTW Spring 2023

Simons is a man of few words, but of many gestures. His last runway show held in London was an indicator of this – shortly after the show the venue transformed into a rave party with over 1,000 guests in attendance, including industry peers: Pierpaolo Piccioli, Grace Wales Bonner, Christopher Kane and Roksanda Ilincic.

It was her secret swansong with some of her best creations on display: carefully tailored rompers; sleeveless construction with clean cuts; elegantly oversized cardigans; and a collaboration with the estate of the late Belgian painter Philippe Vandenberg.

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